When it comes to bang for the performance buck, it’s hard to beat Subaru’s Impreza WRX and STI models
. Both come with turbocharged engines, performance-tuned suspensions and are available in either hatchback or sedan body styles, so it really comes down to two questions: how much do you have to spend, and how fast do you want to go?
Neither the WRX nor the STI could be called sedate in their styling. Of the two, the WRX plays its boy-racer role a bit more subtly, but there’s no mistaking the car’s aggressive looks and wide stance for an ordinary econobox. If you happen to miss the giant intercooler intake on the hood, or its muscular flared fenders, chances are you’ll still notice the four exhaust tips piped out the rear. The WRX
is the lower-performance (and hence, lower cost) model, but it still comes packing a 265-horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission (no automatic is...